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Liberty Global plc Message Board

  • h22jdh2001 h22jdh2001 Oct 9, 2006 3:49 PM Flag

    Liberty actively exploring India options

    I told you guys several months ago. This is a $40 stock next year...


    Liberty actively exploring India entry options


    Indiantelevision. com Team

    (9 October 2006 7:00 am)


    MUMBAI: If everything falls in place, India could well be the next
    operational port of call in Asia after Japan for the John
    Malone-controlled Liberty Media.

    Says Shane O'Neill, SVP, chief strategy officer and board member,
    Liberty Global, "Over the last six years, we haven't looked too
    closely at this market. But now I want to get a more informed view."
    When queried over the credible buzz that had surfaced at one time that
    Liberty might buy in to the Hinduja Group's InCableNet, but that the
    deal fell through over valuations, O'Neill dismissed it as market
    speculation.

    Asked as to what Liberty's entry route into the Indian market would
    be, O'Neill said those calls had still to be taken but it was "highly
    unlikely we would enter without (an Indian) partner".

    "Currently India is the best opportunity in Asia, even more than
    China. We have the appetite to invest in these markets and are not
    worried about the complexities that exist," O'Neill avers.

    There are four key issues that Liberty has identified as being
    critical to its India rollout plans:

    1. Figure out a partnership strategy;

    2. Garner a complete understanding of the regulatory environment in
    the country.

    3. Understand the government's attitude to foreign investment in the
    sector;

    4. Come up to speed on the ground situation.

    O'Neill also raised the point about a the need for a level playing
    field as regards investment opportunities. The same set of rules
    should apply to telcos / cable and satellite companies, he said.

    As regards the cable scenario, his view is that FDI and channel
    pricing are the two issues that really need to be looked into. On
    pricing, O'Neill opines that government intervention should only be as
    regards the basic service; for everything else it should be left to
    the market.

    Asked about the impact of CAS, he said that the rollout of
    addressability would certainly incentivise the likes of Liberty to
    enter India.

    O'Neill did stress however, that Liberty was not going to rush into
    anything but would not be conservative in its thinking either.
    According to him, the media major's mantra was "Informed aggression,
    not instinctual aggression."

    Subhash Chandra has stated that WWIL (erstwhile SitiCable) will be
    pumping in $ 200 million over the next two years as part of an
    aggressive growth strategy that is underpinned by the switchover to
    digital delivery. Could Liberty facilitate that effort? Time should tell.



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